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Finding Light in the Psalms

psalm-119Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are the undefiled (the upright, truly sincere, and blameless) in the way [of the revealed will of God], who walk (order their conduct and conversation) in the law of the Lord (the whole of God’s revealed will).                                                   Psalm 119:1 Amplified Bible

A realization came this week: Psalm 119 is incredible. Most famously known perhaps for being the longest Psalm in the Bible, it is also a Hebrew Acrostic poem. Depending on which Bible translation one uses, it is sometimes also divided up into sections. Throughout the first couple of weeks here as a Companion at the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, some passages from Psalm 119 started taking on new meaning. We pray the Psalms together with the Sisters during chapel services, in alternating sides by the verse.

Psalm 119 is a lengthy declaration of love for the Word of God, for His statutes and commandments. Writing such an extensive and epic poem praising the Word of God and longing for God’s Law to be impressed and written upon the heart of the author, seemed a concept at first quite foreign to someone living in this modern day and age. Do we as a society even care for such things anymore? The “law” as we know it seems to be different concept altogether; the “law” as we have it nowadays is often drawn up by courts, politicians, governments and other such governing bodies.

One might ask then, how could one love the law of the Lord? Don’t these laws imply a long list of dry rules, something to keep us “in check” and possibly removing all the fun from our lives? Was the author of this Psalm simply delusional, trying to look impressive in God’s sight to obtain His favour?

After recently going through some events in my life where I was in need of some real discernment, I asked God to grant me this. As it turns out, He kept bringing passages from Psalm 119 before me during chapel services (especially during Evening Prayer), and also during my quiet prayer time. Suddenly I saw these passages having direct relevance to the prayers I had been praying. I became excited within when the passages aligned with what I had been seeking in my spirit. The answer was right there before my eyes, and what I needed had been revealed to me. Verse 169 contained my initial prayer …”O LORD, listen to my cry: give me the discerning mind you promised” (emphasis mine).

I suddenly understood something about what the Psalmist was talking about – and how loving God’s Word comes with walking the road with Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to bring insight into one’s heart, mind and soul. God’s Word shines light onto our path; it illuminates our way and our thinking. It provides the guidelines we so often seek, but perhaps don’t always know where to find, in a chaotic world. The law of the Lord brings about peace, and helps one navigate the stormy waters of life. Thanks be to God.

By H Becker, Companion of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine